The poker chips that you'll see guys playing with in home games or on college campuses are almost completely different from the chips you would notice in an actual Vegas Casino where the high-rollers hang out. Among the numerous different varieties of chips, the ones used in home settings are mass created, plastic versions. They were first produced as look a likes of the original clay poker chips that were used by players in casinos back in the early days.
The classic clay chip sets that have been historically used, and that are still employed in some places even currently, weren't created entirely of clay except at the very beginning. Pretty quickly on it was discovered that the chips that were made completely of clay were just too easily broken. As a result, the manufacturers began making them from composites, of which the foremost common one currently could be a clay-ceramic mix. It's very unlikely that you'll come across this sort of chip in everyday home games, however; as these would most usually be used in actual Casino settings.
Nowadays, poker chips are created from a selection of various materials, typically produced to give the chip a legitimate sound, weight and feel. However, in general terms, there are 2 types of poker chips: clay and composite.
Composite chips are manufactured with a plastic composite which will be mixed with some kind of clay, giving the chip that authentic feel. Chips of this kind are often weighted with a metal disc to give them some added weight, the first step toward creating the experience of using an actual casino quality chip.These composite poker chips are often weighted to 11.5 grams, where clay chips typically weigh in at around ten grams. The composite chips are generally sold with the 4 suits, dice or diamonds around the edges, and these are the sorts of poker chips that you can find while shopping in retail stores or through online poker chip retailers. For budget minded players, you can find chips generally as low a dime a piece, if you shop in the right places. Buying a used set of chips from an online auction or even Craigslist may also be a way to come pick an inexpensive starter set.
Clay chips are on the other hand are quite a bit more valuable, and usually hard to find at bargain prices. These are the sorts of chips that the majority of the casinos use, and players have come to get use to look and feel of clay chips. Anyone who plays poker knows the look, sound, and feel of an actual clay chip can't be beat. Even a well made plastic composite resin chip will have a hard time comparing to an authentic chip.
If you're looking to get things started on the right foot and have a few dollars to spend, you can invest in a set of chips from Paulson. Paulson poker chips are pretty much the Rolls Royce of chips, and you'll certainly be spoiling the regulars at your poker nights by having a set of them. Picking up a set of these will set you back around a buck a chip, but are almost an investment in themselves as they tend to maintain a decent resale value, which may come in handy when your wife of girlfriend kicks you and your buddies out of the house for getting too rowdy on your poker night.